Why Confession is Worth the Risk! And WW Linkup!

Confession BreaksI’m currently conducting a survey with men {or husbands in particular} that asks, What makes opening up and confessing to a mate or girlfriend so difficult? I only have a small number who’ve responded so far, but the answers to this one question have revealed a glaringly apparent fear of rejection. The sad fact is that sometimes a spouse or offender will not only reject us, but will use our confessions against us.

Truly confession can feel like handing your angry mate a loaded gun, all the while you’ve got a bulls-eye painted on your chest.

Um, no, thank you!

But in my experience, this has been almost always a hollow threat that has only rattled around in my brain for as long as it has, because I’ve written and added to the “story in my head.” And it’s almost always a story of “fiction.

Here’s what I’ve experienced more times than not whenever I’ve confessed—not just to my mate, but to others as well . . .

Benefit One 40

 

It drew me closer to the one I confessed to.

Now, I’m not taking about a sarcastic, “Well, I’m soorryy! Are you happy now?” kind of confession. Instead, more like one that humbly drops any denial or pretentious act, causing a gracious ripple effect of defenses being dropped by the one being confessed to.

Benefit Two 40

 

It opened my spouse’s or offender’s heart to look at him/herself.

You know how it feels. Someone remorsefully apologizes to you and you immediately fall all over yourself apologizing about your part in the conflict. That kind of break-through is like a bulldozer aimed at you and your spouse’s walls of self-protection. Am I right?? Uh . . . yessirree, Bob, I’m right!

Benefit Three 40

 

It brought not only a relief from a burden, but a freedom that is priceless and irreplaceable.

No more pretending, posing, hiding, nor carrying the accompanying shame that brings a whole host of other maladies like depression, anxieties, and addictions just to name a few.

Benefit Four 40

 

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 (NIV)

To me, there is a difference here between a “relief from a burden and the accompanying freedom” {which is great, by the way!}, when compared with “healing” because . . .

Healing is deeper and more lasting.

It is the work our Lord does in our hearts, while relief and freedom are the blessed feelings that flow from that work.

Maybe I haven’t fully convinced you. Maybe you’re in a marriage that is so contemptuous or dead that confession seems like a crazy and foolhardy choice. I hear ya!

That’s why I’m going to help to prepare you step-by-step in this process. Next week I’ll be talking about how to effectively confess and apologize. As the weeks go on I’ll be sharing on: when and when not to confess, how to handle a failed confession, as well as, what to do when a confession is used against us. There’s just so much ground to cover and I’d love for you to walk it with me!

What “stories of fiction” have you told yourself—fueling your fear of confession?

 

What is your biggest fear or hindrance to creating a confessional culture in your marriage?

 

If you are a man in any kind of relationship, I’d LOVE IT if you’d participate in the survey I mentioned on Openness. And if you know of a man who has not taken the survey, please share this link. It’s only 8 multiple choice questions that will take him about 5 minutes and his identity will not be known—but his answers will help so much! Thanks!


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, So Much at Home and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Let’s get this Wedded Wednesday Linkup started!

Messy Marriage

Find our other WW buttons and guidelines here.

  • Well now, this is very interesting. I was just reading in Tim Keller’s book “Prayer” the other day about the value of confession… and had a conversation with a friend about how we neglect to make confession a part of our daily spiritual routine. You are hammering home the theme today, my friend! Thank you for this insightful application of a concept that’s already on my heart this week. I love the idea of confession as a cleansing power in marriage. Hugs to you, o wise one!

    • I’m so glad this is something that you’ve been thinking about as well, Becky. As I look back on my long marriage, I know without a doubt that learning to confess and apologize has been the single most important healing agent that God has used to take our marriage from messy to redeemed. Thanks so much for coming by! I’ve missed your smiling face and lovely words of encouragement, my friend! But I know that you are one busy woman! You go, girl!

  • Beth, thank you so much for linking up at Mondays @ Soul Survival. Blessings!

    • You’re very welcome, Donna. I appreciate your linkup and all of the solid and biblical content you offer us in the blogosphere!

  • This is such a wonderful and needed series. Looking forward to it. Thanks so much for hosting 🙂 Nice to *see* you sweet friend.

    • I think so too, Judith. I just know that even though we need it, it’s very difficult for people to want to do. I just hope that people will recognize how powerful and freeing it is! Thanks for your kind words, my friend!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    The biggest issue for me is that pretty much everything is remembered…for possible future use.

    Not much incentive, there. But I do it anyway, because it’s the right thing.

    • That’s part of the problem I’m seeing reflected in the survey I’m doing with men and openness, Andrew. Women have not made this issue easy to do, that’s for sure! I just know that once I realized that I needed to admit my part and did that, it changed the atmosphere in my marriage. Not every marriage will have that kind of reciprocity. And for those folks, like you, I pray that the Lord brings comfort and grace to make it through.

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  • That feeling of being made “bare” is one for me. But I do the right thing anyway, knowing that my feelings always want to get in the way of obedience to God.
    Thanks for sharing this very delicate topic Beth, and for hosting too.
    Have a super blessed day!
    Love

    • It’s funny that you should say it that way, Ugochi, because that’s exactly how it feels. I’m so glad that you do it anyway. You, of course, understand that God hugely blesses that confession even though the process is very uncomfortable and vulnerable. I just hope that others can begin to see that truth as well. Thanks for your encouragement, my friend!

  • Mary

    Describing a fear of confession as telling a story of fiction, outlines perfectly how many of us feel. I think if you tell yourself this story you are not admitting the root of the problem and then in your own mind you can justify that it is not real. It can also be a problem of not letting go because you always feel you are right.
    I look forward to reading more. Always good ideas that I can use for me or pass onto others. Love and hugs!

    • Interesting insights, Mary. It makes me wish we could talk more about what you are saying, because it sounds to me like you’ve applied this to some situations in your own life. I do so appreciate seeing you here in this space, my friend! Blessings to you!

  • stasia08

    So true! What a well written post about confession with a spouse!

  • Mary Flaherty

    Beth, I always love your honest posts. You hit the nail on the head-confession is so hard because we fear rejection. I have learned to apologize to my spouse, or anyone, for that matter as soon as I see the hurt cross their face, and often, as soon as a thought leaves my mouth (and I think, did I really just say that???) Like any habit, the more you do it, the more second nature it becomes.

    • It sounds as if you have a very tender heart, Mary. I think it depends on who I am dealing with as to how much compassion I feel. If I see hurt or insecurity in my boys or my girlfriend’s faces, I immediately want to apologize. But when it’s my husband criticizing me for “hurting him”–I tend to have a harder time! With that said, my husband and I have learned to confess and apologize anyway–to not just wait till we feel like it. And that’s made our marriage a much safer place to confess. It’s become the expectation and routine of working through our differences. Thanks for your kind words and for weighing in on the topic, my friend!

  • I think it’s a sign of true trust in your spouse, or to whomever, when you can confess something to them!

    • Yes, that’s a good point, Molly. It takes trust to confess. But sometimes we must start with simply trusting God and resting in His care if our spouse does not prove “trustworthy.” Thanks so much for adding to the discussion, my friend!

  • Thanks so much, Beth, for hosting the link-up and for the reminder that some of the most difficult things in life net some of the best rewards. Nothing tears down walls and builds connection quite like confession. May He continue to fill your cup to overflowing!

    • Oh, that’s a great way to state it, Heather! Confession truly is one of those things that is difficult but so worth the effort and pain. Thank you for your kind encouragement, my friend!

  • Beth, this is such a great topic. We all need to be less fearful of rejection and just humble ourselves before God and our spouses and be able to confess that we were wrong and we are sorry.

  • David

    I filled in your survey! 🙂

    I know when I confess or apologise (which I don’t do very often) it feels very good and opens up a tender moment for us.

  • Beth this is wonderful..I am looking forward to the rest of the posts. Your style of writing and it’s depth, you can literary turn your posts into books, right off! 🙂
    I will share your survey on my Facebook page (will specify it’s for guys!). Hugs!

  • Ann Pop

    Well, for the most part, I believe you are correct here in the benefits you have listed. I have known a few situations where the one being confessed to is unforgiving and hard-hearted. But, no matter how the other person responds, we are instructed “If If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9…of all the benefits, this is the greatest one for me!!

    • preatis

      Most of them time when we expect our confessions to be seen as noble or correcting the problem and don’t get a loving response we loose site that it is the first step in changing ourselves, and required for true self worth. It may seem impossible for some to forgive but in time I have found there first confession is an apology about their response to your confession. If our mates lack of forgiveness makes us wish we never said anything then we often actually make the matter worse.

  • Jacqueline@Deeprootsathome.com

    What an excellent post on confessing our sins! Thank you for the encouragement, Beth!

  • preatis

    As a Husband It has taken 16 years and I am still learning how to be honest, at least honest the way she see’s honesty. Confessions should not be done to intentionally create pain. Learn to explain how THEY are worth it, the mistake was because of ME, not because of how they made you feel.

    Women and Men are different; women often want YOU to tell them how your actions made them feel, Men often want to know that you understand that if they you would have come to them first, risking being vulnerable before making your mistake he could have helped and they we were worth listening to. This is often viewed as “I told you so”.
    Many Many times their responses are heard in a way they were not intended, just spoken if different languages.

    Sometimes ” When we hear I told you so it actually means “I wish you trust my love, vision and instinct.” From a man it is another attempt to be your HERO.

    Sometimes we hear “I can’t believe you have been so selfish, unloving, self centered, and intentionally hurtful.” From a woman it means “I want you to see how I have tried to create an honest, accepting, and nurturing relationship with you” It’s a woman’s attempt to be your princess.

    Provision, Protection, and last Nurturing is a good-willed husbands order of priorities.
    Nurturing, Protection then Provision is a wives order of priorities.

    Remember –
    The value of confession benefits me more than my spouse, initially.
    The value of forgiveness benefits me more than my spouse, initially.

    Concentrating on ourselves helps to pass not own our actions or words, confession shouldn’t be seen as a trade game, my turn your turn expectations do not help to strengthen your relationships. It is a gift for Yourself, Your Spouse and is necessary for a close relationship with the Lord – the backbone of your marriage.